Bengaluru Buzz: Housing scheme for poor | New Lokayukta | Rs 1500 crore to clear storm water drains … and more

Weekly news roundup from bengaluru

Former High Court judge Justice B S Patil being sworn in as Karnataka's new Lokayukta
Former High Court judge Justice B S Patil being sworn in as Karnataka's new Lokayukta. Pic Credit: BS Bommai/Twitter

Onti Mane housing scheme to be restarted by BBMP

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai announced on June 15th that BBMP would restart the Onti Mane scheme, which aims to provide financial assistance to the poor to build a house, if they owned a site. This will be in conjunction with other urban development schemes such as Akrama Sakrama, which regularises revenue collection in pockets of the city where a large number of underprivileged people in Bengaluru live. 

The Onti Mane scheme offers upto Rs 5 lakh to people belonging to the SC/ST/OBC and minority categories to build houses in their plots. CM Bommai claimed that the scheme was stopped due to the pandemic, and that it would be restarted with a fixed quota of beneficiaries per ward in the city. 

Source: Deccan Herald

Justice B S Patil is new Lokayukta

Karnataka finally gets an anti-corruption ombudsman with the swearing in  on June 15th of former Karnataka High Court Judge Bhimanagouda Sanganagouda Patil as the new Lokayukta. The post had been vacant since January when the tenure of Justice P Vishwanth Shetty had ended. 

B. S. Patil had served two years as the Upalokayukta before being given the top job. In an interview with The Hindu, Justice Patil said that he will make the office of the Lokayukta more proactive, and take suo moto cognisance of corruption cases if necessary in the public interest.

The Karnataka Lokayukta office was established in 1984 to tackle corruption in government and to redress public grievances related to state government employees. The investigative powers of the Lokayukta were derived from the Prevention of Corruption Act, but these powers were diluted in 2016 with some of the Lokayukta’s powers being transferred to the Anti Corruption Bureau.

The Lokayukta office has challenged this in the Karnataka High Court, and when Justice Patil was asked about his stance on this issue, he said that he was awaiting the High Court’s judgment. 

Source: The Hindu

Read more: BBMP elections: Major parties have ready promises, new ones talk citizen empowerment

Competition intense to construct Sarjapur-Hebbal Metro Line

The Bengaluru Metro Corporation (BMRCL) is evaluating detailed project reports (DPRs) from 10 firms for construction of the 37km metro line connecting Sarjapur and Hebbal. The DPR details costs, ridership analysis data, environmental and social impact assessments and geotechnical analyses.

RITES Ltd, Delhi Integrated Transit System, Korea Technical Corporation and Urban Mass Transit Company are some of the companies vying for the contract.  However, this is only the first step in the approval process, which is expected to take anywhere from one to three years. The line is expected to pass through Agara and Dairy Circle and on to Hebbal. 

This is the first time multiple companies are involved in this process, as previous stretches  have had their DPRs made by the Delhi Metro (Phase I), or the RITES agency (Phase II), or an inhouse BMRCL team (Phase III). 

 It is not clear if this will be part of the Phase III construction, or  a new phase in itself. The Karnataka Comprehensive Mobility Plan envisages  building 317km of metro lines by 2030, including lines running along the inner ring road.

Source: Deccan Herald

Read more: No records, excess payments — Bengaluru’s stormwater drain works lack accountability

359 new works to strengthen storm water drains approved

BBMP announced on June 16th that 359 new works would be built to strengthen the storm water drains (SWDs) network in the city. This would mainly involve building retaining walls around the drains, and work will begin immediately. BBMP said this would prevent flooding in 72 vulnerable areas in the city.

Mockup of the SWD at Shanthinagar as part of K100 project
The mock-up area of the ongoing K100 storm water drain project, Shanthinagar. Credit: Mod Foundation

Some of the areas where BBMP is starting this work are HRBR Layout, Arekere Layout, Nayandhalli junction, and near the Rachenahalli Lake. These areas were shortlisted after consultations with local MLAs, the civic body said. 

BBMP also said that this was part of the 2022-23 budget, and for a stretch of 171 km of drain, it would cost around Rs. 1500 crore. 

Source: Deccan Herald

CET exams go off without a hitch

The two day Common Entrance Test (CET), the gateway to admissions to professional education in the state, including for engineering, agriculture, pharmacy, and veterinary courses, were held without major incident on June 16-17 across the state.

The biology and maths exams were on June 16, with Physics and Chemistry on June 17. Over two lakh students appeared for the exams on both days in 486 centres in the state,87 being in Bengaluru.

There was a dress code for students writing the exam, stipulating full sleeve shirts, and any piece of clothing covering head and ears not permitted in the exam hall. One student with a hijab was asked to remove it before writing the exam in Bengaluru on June 16, but otherwise, the test seems to have gone without controversya hitch on both days. 

The results are expected before July 17. 

Source: Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Maitrey Deshpande]

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The News Desk at Citizen Matters puts out Press Releases, notifications and curated information useful to the urban reader.